History of the Britons


4, 5. From Adam to the flood, are two thousand and forty-two years. From the flood of Abraham, nine hundred and forty-two. From Abraham to Moses, six hundred.* From Moses to Solomon, and the first building of the temple, four hundred and forty-eight. From Solomon to the rebuilding of the temple, which was under Darius, king of the Persians, six hundred and twelve years are computed. From Darius to the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the fifteenth year of the emperor Tiberius, are five hundred and forty-eight years. So that from Adam to the ministry of Christ and the fifteenth year of the emperor Tiberius, are five thousand two hundred and twenty-eight years. From the passion of Christ are completed nine hundred and forty-six; from his incarnation, nine hundred and seventy-six: being the fifth year of Edmund, king of the Angles.

* And forty, according to Stevenson's new edition. The rest
of this chronology is much contracted in several of the
manuscripts, and hardly two of them contain it exactly the

6. The first age of the world is from Adam to Noah; the second from Noah to Abraham; the third from Abraham to David; the fourth from David to Daniel; the fifth to John the Baptist; the sixth from John to the judgment, when our Lord Jesus Christ will come to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.

The first Julius.
The second Claudius.
The third Severus.
The fourth Carinus.
The fifth Constantius.
The sixth Maximus.
The seventh Maximianus.
The eighth another Severus Aequantius.
The ninth Constantius.*

* This list of the Roman emperors who visited Britain, is
omitted in many of the MSS.

Here beginneth the history of the Britons, edited by Mark the anchorite, a holy bishop of that people.

7. The island of Britain derives its name from Brutus, a Roman consul. Taken from the south-west point it inclines a little towards the west, and to its northern extremity measures eight hundred miles, and is in breadth two hundred. It contains thirty three cities,(1) viz.

1. Cair ebrauc (York).
2. Cair ceint (Canterbury).
3. Cair gurcoc (Anglesey?).
4. Cair guorthegern (2)
5. Cair custeint (Carnarvon).
6. Cair guoranegon (Worcester).
7. Cair segeint (Silchester).
8. Cair guin truis (Norwich, or Winwick).
9. Cair merdin (Caermarthen).
10. Cair peris (Porchester).
11. Cair lion (Caerleon-upon-Usk).
12. Cair mencipit (Verulam).
13. Cair caratauc (Catterick).
14. Cair ceri (Cirencester).
15. Cair glout (Gloucester).
16. Cair luillid (Carlisle).
17. Cair grant (Grantchester, now Cambridge).
18. Cair daun (Doncaster), or Cair dauri (Dorchester).
19. Cair britoc (Bristol).
20. Cair meguaid (Meivod).
21. Cair mauiguid (Manchester).
22. Cair ligion (Chester).
23. Cair guent (Winchester, or Caerwent, in Monmouthshire).
24. Cair collon (Colchester, or St. Colon, Cornwall).
25. Cair londein (London).
26. Cair guorcon (Worren, or Woran, in Pembrokeshire).
27. Cair lerion (Leicester).
28. Cair draithou (Drayton).
29. Cair pensavelcoit (Pevensey, in Sussex).
30. Cairtelm (Teyn-Grace, in Devonshire).
31. Cair Urnahc (Wroxeter, in Shropshire).
32. Cair colemion (Camelet, in Somersetshire).
33. Cair loit coit (Lincoln).
(1) V.R. Twenty-eight, twenty-one.
(2) Site unknown.

These are the names of the ancient cities of the island of Britain. It has also a vast many promontories, and castles innumerable, built of brick and stone. Its inhabitants consist of four different people; the Scots, the Picts, the Saxons and the ancient Britons.

8. Three considerable islands belong to it; one, on the south, opposite the Armorican shore, called Wight;* another between Ireland and Britain, called Eubonia or Man; and another directly north, beyond the Picts, named Orkney; and hence it was anciently a proverbial expression, in reference to its kings and rulers, "He reigned over Britain and its three islands."

* Inis-gueith, or Gueith.

6. It is fertilized by several rivers, which traverse it in all directions, to the east and west, to the south and north; but there are two pre-eminently distinguished among the rest, the Thames and the Severn, which formerly, like the two arms of Britain, bore the ships employed in the conveyance of riches acquired by commerce. The Britons were once very populous, and exercised extensive dominion from sea to sea.

10.* Respecting the period when this island became inhabited subsequently to the flood, I have seen two distinct relations. According to the annals of the Roman history, the Britons deduce their origin both from the Greeks and Romans. On the side of the mother, from Lavinia, the daughter of Latinus, king of Italy, and of the race of Silvanus, the son of Inachus, the son of Dardanus; who was the son of Saturn, king of the Greeks, and who, having possessed himself of a part of Asia, built the city of Troy. Dardanus was the father of Troius, who was the father of Priam and Anchises; Anchises was the father of Aeneas, who was the father of Ascanius and Silvius; and this Silvius was the son of Aeneas and Lavinia, the daughter of the king of Italy. From the sons of Aeneas and Lavinia descended Romulus and Remus, who were the sons of the holy queen Rhea, and the founders of Rome. Brutus was consul when he conquered Spain, and reduced that country to a Roman province. He afterwards subdued the island of Britain, whose inhabitants were the descendants of the Romans, from Silvius Posthumus. He was called Posthumus because he was born after the death of Aeneas his father; and his mother Lavinia concealed herself during her pregnancy; he was called Silvius, because he was born in a wood. Hence the Roman kings were called Silvan, and the Britons from Brutus, and rose from the family of Brutus.

* The whole of this, as far as the end of the paragraph, is
omitted in several MSS.

Aeneas, after the Trojan war, arrived with his son in Italy; and Having vanquished Turnus, married Lavinia, the daughter of king Latinus, who was the son of Faunus, the son of Picus, the son of Saturn. After the death of Latinus, Aeneas obtained the kingdom Of the Romans, and Lavinia brought forth a son, who was named Silvius. Ascanius founded Alba, and afterwards married. And Lavinia bore to Aeneas a son, named Silvius; but Ascanius (1) married a wife, who conceived and became pregnant. And Aeneas, having been informed that his daughter-in-law was pregnant, ordered his son to send his magician to examine his wife, whether the child conceived were male or female. The magician came and examined the wife and pronounced it to be a son, who should become the most valiant among the Italians, and the most beloved of all men. (2) In consequence of this prediction, the magician was put to death by Ascanius; but it happened that the mother of the child dying at its birth, he was named Brutus; ad after a certain interval, agreeably to what the magician had foretold, whilst he was playing with some others he shot his father with an arrow, not intentionally but by accident. (3) He was, for this cause, expelled from Italy, and came to the islands of the Tyrrhene sea, when he was exiled on account of the death of Turnus, slain by Aeneas. He then went among the Gauls, and built the city of the Turones, called Turnis. (4) At length he came to this island named from him Britannia, dwelt there, and filled it with his own descendants, and it has been inhabited from that time to the present period.

(1) Other MSS. Silvius.

(2) V.R. Who should slay his father and mother, and be hated
by all mankind.

(3) V.R. He displayed such superiority among his play-
fellows, that they seemed to consider him as their chief.

(4) Tours.

11. Aeneas reigned over the Latins three years; Ascanius thirty three years; after whom Silvius reigned twelve years, and Posthumus thirty-nine * years: the latter, from whom the kings of Alba are called Silvan, was brother to Brutus, who governed Britain at the time Eli the high-priest judged Israel, and when the ark of the covenant was taken by a foreign people. But Posthumus his brother reigned among the Latins. * V.R. Thirty-seven.

12. After an interval of not less than eight hundred years, came the Picts, and occupied the Orkney Islands: whence they laid waste many regions, and seized those on the left hand side of Britain, where they still remain, keeping possession of a third part of Britain to this day. *

* See Bede's Eccles. Hist.

13. Long after this, the Scots arrived in Ireland from Spain. The first that came was Partholomus,(1) with a thousand men and women; these increased to four thousand; but a mortality coming suddenly upon them, they all perished in one week. The second was Nimech, the son of...,(2) who, according to report, after having been at sea a year and a half, and having his ships shattered, arrived at a port in Ireland, and continuing there several years, returned at length with his followers to Spain. After these came three sons of a Spanish soldier with thirty ships, each of which contained thirty wives; and having remained there during the space of a year, there appeared to them, in the middle of the sea, a tower of glass, the summit of which seemed covered with men, to whom they often spoke, but received no answer. At length they determined to besiege the tower; and after a year's preparation, advanced towards it, with the whole number of their ships, and all the women, one ship only excepted, which had been wrecked, and in which were thirty men, and as many women; but when all had disembarked on the shore which surrounded the tower, the sea opened and swallowed them up. Ireland, however, was peopled, to the present period, from the family remaining in the vessel which was wrecked. Afterwards, other came from Spain, and possessed themselves of various parts of Britain.

(1) V.R. Partholomaeus, or Bartholomaeus.

(2) A blank is here in the MS. Agnomen is found in some of
the others.

14. Last of all came one Hoctor,(1) who continued there, and whose descendants remain there to this day. Istoreth, the son of Istorinus, with his followers, held Dalrieta; Buile had the island Eubonia, and other adjacent places. The sons of Liethali(2) obtained the country of the dimetae, where is a city called Menavia,(3) and the province Guiher and Cetgueli, (4) which they held till they were expelled from every part of Britain, by Cunedda and his sons.

(1) V.R. Damhoctor, Clamhoctor, and Elamhoctor.

(2) V.R. Liethan, Bethan, Vethan.

(3) St. David's.

(4) Guiher, probably the Welsh district Gower. Cetgueli is
Caer Kidwelly, in Carmarthenshire.

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